September 2016

Greetings everyone,

 It was only a month ago that we had our Diocesan Synod – and now we’re heading into Spring.

I certainly appreciated the many comments about Synod and the positive sense that people were heading back into parishes buoyed up and encouraged – which is certainly not the case usually in the formality of Synod. ‘Stepping out of the boat in order to walk on the water, because that’s where Jesus was (and is)' may become something of a Nelson banner over the next few years!

Phil Greenwood and the parishioners of Stoke were so welcoming and really turned it on for us. Thank you.

 We pray for Ian and Karen Thatcher this weekend – their final weekend in the parish of Golden Bay. They have had a wonderful ministry there and I deeply appreciate their collegiality, their loyalty and their friendship. May God bless them as they move back up north to Palmerston North.

It was also a joy to be able to announce at Synod that Rev Philip Lyes has been appointed to Golden Bay. It will be great to have Philip and Lynda back in the Diocese. Philip's induction service as Vicar in Golden Bay will be on the 9th November at 7.00pm.

 A couple of weeks ago we were advised that Archbishop Brown Turei – Primate and head of our Tikanga Maori has announced his retirement as the Bishop of Te Tairawhiti at the end of the year, and as Primate a few months later. Archbishop Brown is a man of incredible integrity and very deep faith and I respect him so deeply and will miss his presence at Bishops’ meetings. Someone in their 90’s certainly earns retirement and we uphold Brown and Mihi in our prayers.

 A couple of weeks ago I attended the Abbey (the Tikanga Pakeha youth leaders event) held in Living Springs. It is an amazing event and Nelson was strongly represented. It really is exciting to see the calibre of the young people committing themselves to leadership in the Anglican Church. Unfortunately a bad dose of the bot meant that I totally lost my voice and had to cut my time short.

 I've had a lot of comments regarding the ordination practice that we have just slipped into here, which has seen me doing many ordinations throughout the year in different parish churches. They have been wonderful celebrations but, as many have commented, it has undermined the foundation of ordination which is not ordination into the parish church, but ordination into the Church. In order to reclaim this we are going back to the traditional practice of a Diocesan ordination around the festival of St Andrew (at the end of November, beginning of December) with another, smaller occasion, toward the beginning of the year.  So please note that there will be an ordination service in the Cathedral on Wednesday 30th November at 7.00pm. I will let you know in the next Ad Clerum who is being ordained at this service.

 The 'Way Forward' for the Anglican Church was briefly touched on at Synod and the commitment made to hold a series of meetings in each region of the Diocese open to Vestries and key lay people from all parishes in the Diocese. This is of course, intended to help us determine a way forward on the issue of biblical authority generally, and same-gendered sexuality specifically. I intend to invite someone to join me as a co-presenter at those meetings and will advise as to dates and venues. A recent communique from the Archbishops has taken the pressure off time-wise, but this is something that we need to continue to consider.

 The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has made it clear that it wants to move on the blessings of people in same gendered relationships but this move was essentially put on hold for two years so that the Church could see if there is a structure that would enable us to hold two very diverse views and still remain in communion. I don't need to add that it is a very emotive issue.  But the time for discussion on the issue itself has now passed. It is a battle that has been won by those wanting to progress on the issue. The debate is now on structure mechanism (and how and whether relationship can be maintained when we totally disagree). This will be the basis of our meetings.

 The Archbishops’ email indicated the appointment of two groups to help steer the church through the next two years: one is a small working group  of 3 - 6 people which will facilitate a process for bringing a proposal for structural change to the next General Synod.  And secondly a panel of consultants (made up of people identified by interested parties in the debate) who will act as a reference to the working group. 

 I must confess that I am tired of this debate which I believe detracts us from our mission.  I will advise as to when and where these meetings will be held within our Diocese.

 See you all later this month at the Leadership Conference at Lake Rotoiti.

 With every blessing

 

+Richard

Go to top